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USTMA weighs in on steel imports investigation

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The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) today testified before a U.S. Commerce Department hearing investigating the national security implications of steel imports. USTMA is requesting that specific types of tire cord-quality steel wire rod, tire cord and bead wire be excluded from the Commerce Department investigation since domestic suppliers cannot meet volume and quality needs for this critical tire safety component.

“Tire manufacturing is vital to the U.S. economy,” said Tracey Norberg, USTMA senior vice president and general counsel. “Tires manufactured by USTMA members safely transport millions of Americans and millions of tons of goods each day throughout the United States. In addition, the U.S. military depends on the tire manufacturing industry to supply tires to protect our national security.”

Virtually all of the steel wire rod used to manufacture high tensile tire cord and bead wire that is consumed in U.S. tire manufacturing plants is sourced from foreign suppliers due to the stringent performance and quality requirements of tire manufacturing, as well as quality and supply limitations of domestic steel wire rod suppliers.

“A disruption in tire manufacturing in the U.S. would harm the U.S. economy, since consistent tire supply is critical to the nation’s shipping and commerce needs, and threaten national security, since the U.S. military relies on the tire industry to provide high performing and durable tires to aid in our national defense,” Norberg said.

Domestic steel mills use a production process that is unable to produce tire cord-quality steel wire rod necessary to make tires for military and civilian applications by domestic tire producers.

Tire manufacturers use this steel wire in a tire’s steel belts, providing strength, high load-carrying capacity, puncture resistance and durability, and in the bead, which holds the tire to the rim.

“Tariffs or quotas on these products would significantly disrupt the production of tires in the United States, due to quality and supply limitations in domestically producing tire cord-quality steel wire rod to replace imported products,” Norberg said.

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